What You Said: Favorite File Search Tips, Tricks, and Apps

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By Jason Fitzpatrick on December 9th, 2011

2011-12-09_102019

Earlier this week we asked you to share your favorite local file search search tips, tricks, and apps. Now we’re back to share the wealth.

On Wednesday we asked you to tell us how you find your local files faster and more efficiently. You responded in force with a variety of tricks and apps in tow. By far the most popular suggestion was Everything from Void Tools. CaryO writes:

Nothing beats Everything. Old and tired looks-wise but incredibly fast and helpful. I install this on every computer I work on and the users always look at me like I’ve just created a new lifeform. “Why isn’t this part of Windows” is question #1. :-)

Rich writes:

“Everything.” Small, fast and light. And it finds everything, everywhere, even on external USB drives. And did I mention FAST!?!?

Guidez combined their favorite task launcher with their favorite search tool for maximum speed:

I combined Launchy and Everything together so I use the ALT-TAB command then search for files! It’s very practical and fast.

Neelanshu Jain writes:

My one and only favourite that I suggest to each of my friend : “Everything”.

It’s the best and perfect search tool for my 5.5TB storage, just had to save the files with proper names.

That last sentence is key and highlights the only downside to lightening fast Everything. Everything is as crazy fast as it is because it searches the NTFS file table. Results are as close to instant as possible. The downside is that it relies exclusively on file names so if you name a file (or fail to rename a file from) 123456.ppt you likely won’t find that file very easily unless the directory structure you saved it in offers a clue.

On the topic of indexing file content, David offered some tips:

Indexing by filename: Locate32 for quick search for that file whose location I can’t quite remember- or for finding odd files created in odd locations by installations – e.g. that downloaded msi.. and it’s better than Everything ‘cos it adds file content search (non-indexed). However, as it doesn’t automatically update, a quick re-index is needed to find recently added files.

Indexing by content: Google Desktop has ceased being supported – such as its support was. And it is a limited indexer compared to Copernic, which I therefore use.

But, with the Omnipage GDS Indexer plugin, Google Desktop search still rules for scanned text documents (or similar).

With a three-prong approach like that, it sounds like it would be tough to miss a file!


Have a search tip or trick? It’s not too late to join the conversation. Sound off in the comments below with your local file search!

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/9/11
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